Following a television taping in Baltimore, Ring of Honor rolls into Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on Saturday for yet another night of live action. The entire event will be preceded by a meet and greet with Pittsburgh wrestling legend Bruno Sammartino, for which tickets can be purchased separately here.
At least for the Pittsburgh fans, this show serves as the first real bit of aftermath from Best in the World: Hostage Crisis. Let’s take a closer look at the matches and see if this live event will yield a DVD worth purchasing.
Adam Cole Vs. Pepper Parks
Fresh off a star-making outing against Kyle O’Reilly at Best in the World, Cole looks to capitalize on his momentum against NWA regular Pepper Parks. But despite Cole’s dramatic and awe-inspiring victory at the latest pay-per-view, Parks is coming into Ring of Honor hungry to make an indelible impression on ROH fans and management alike. It all boils down to a singular question: Who’s coming to Pittsburgh with the most drive? Is it the breakout star Adam Cole, or the ROH hopeful Pepper Parks?
Jay Lethal vs. Kyle O’Reilly
The dynamic is definitely here. Both men are coming off tough losses at Best in the World. In Lethal’s case, Roderick Strong’s television championship remains quite the evasive prize. He’ll have to cut his losses and presumably start from square one. But in Kyle O’Reilly’s case, despite also suffering a submission loss at the hands of Adam Cole, O’Reilly is riding his own wave of momentum after passionately cutting all ties with “American Wolf” Davey Richards just as Richards went to war with Kevin Steen. It’s the sound MMA practitioner against the man who pays tribute to one of wrestling’s greats in every one of his matches. To whom will the spoils go on this night: deadly, unforgiving ju jitsu, or fast, action-packed wrestling? Pittsburgh will find out on Saturday.
Four Corner Survival
Kenny King vs. “The Prodigy” Mike Bennett vs. “No Fear” Mike Mondo vs. Mike Sydal
All four combatants in this one have by far proven that they belong in Ring of Honor. Though Mike Sydal is not technically a permanent ROH fixture at this point, he certainly adds a special element to the match which will undoubtedly captivate the Pittsburgh faithful. After Mondo was able to capture a victory over the Prodigy at Best in the World, chances are high that Bennett will be out for revenge. Perhaps the biggest wild card in all of this though is Kenny King, one half of the new ROH tag team champions. All four men will be duking it out for a chance to climb ever higher in the ROH fans’ estimation, as well as in the estimation of ROH management. With a win over three other impressive athletes, singles championship success is practically assured.
“Die Hard” Eddie Edwards vs. “The Sicilian Psychopath” Tommaso Ciampa
Rest assured that after being “inadvertently” screwed out of the television championship this past Sunday, Tommaso Ciampa is mad. So mad, in fact, that he’ll probably try and run straight through Eddie Edwards. The only real problem with Ciampa’s strategy is that he’ll be trying to run through Eddie Edwards, who after suffering a loss of his own to Homicide, looks for a bit, or a lot, of redemption. Pittsburgh fans can expect a lot of knee-strikes coupled with even more chops which may or may not be directed at the face. The bottom line is this match will be hard-hitting in every sense of the word. Will it be the Boston Knee Party or the Project Ciampa that ends this one?
Charlie Haas vs. Rhett Titus
If one lives and dies by wins and losses, then the story goes, “Rhett Titus beat Charlie Haas on Sunday to bring the Ring of Honor tag team championships to the All Night Express.” Unfortunately this extends far beyond simple wins and losses. After beating and bloodying Rhett Titus on Sunday, Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin abused the New Jersey native to the point of no return until Rhett used perhaps his final burst of energy to capitalize on a momentary lapse in Haas’s attention for the pinfall victory. But the saga didn’t end there, because the All Night Express’s champagne celebration was cut short when Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team mounted a bitter attack on the new champions. Now Titus looks to exact a measure of revenge on the former tag team champion. Can Titus take matters into his own hands without Kenny King, or will Haas have yet another reason to toot his own horn?
BJ Whitmer vs. “The Zombie Princess” Jimmy Jacobs
It seems like “The Zombie Princess” is taking the “zombie” part of his name to heart. After taking a vicious exploder suplex onto a ladder from Davey Richards at the internet pay-per-view this past weekend, Jacobs is back in action against another ROH star who isn’t yet locked into a full-time roster spot in BJ Whitmer. Of course, this wouldn’t be a legitimate preview if we just glanced over the history between these two men. Jacobs and Whitmer worked together at one time to capture multiple tag team championships before their relationship dissolved into chaos and violence over the seductive siren Lacey. Now, as Ring of Honor so elegantly describes it on its web site, it’s a “war revisited.” But what Jimmy Jacobs will make his presence known in Pittsburgh? Will it be a technically savvy ring general, or will it be Kevin Steen’s psychopathic associate who has helped torment the company since Showdown in the Sun in Florida? If it’s the latter, does Whitmer have what it takes to put the princess in his place?
Rhino and “Unbreakable” Michael Elgin vs. The Briscoe Brothers
At Best in the World the Briscoes tried to put an exclamation point on their victory over two question marks, Truth Martini’s Guardians of Truth. Unfortunately, though the Briscoes were technically victorious, Truth Martini is still standing, and as long as he remains standing and able, he’ll come up with new ways to antagonize Dem Boys. His latest effort manifests itself in the mass of humanity that is “The Man Beast” Rhino and “Unbreakable” Michael Elgin. But with the wedge slowly being driven between the rising star Elgin and the cerebral Martini, this instance of tag team warfare can be anyone’s game. Can Rhino and Elgin stay on the same page long enough to get the win and regain some of the House of Truth’s credibility, or will Dem Boys upset Truth Martini yet again?
ROH World Championship
Kevin Steen (c) vs. Roderick Strong
“Pro Wrestling’s Worst Nightmare” was able to walk out of New York City with the world championship safe in his possession after a cataclysmic showdown against Davey Richards. But before Steen could bid farewell to the Big Apple, he had a scathing interview for the New York audience and everybody watching around the world. Desperate to wrestle the world title from Steen’s clutches, Jim Cornette has vowed to make every match in which Steen competes from here on out a world championship match. That policy goes into action for the first time in Pittsburgh when House of Truth posterboy Roderick Strong steps up for a shot. Neither man sees eye to eye with Ring of Honor management; nor does either really have any reservations about the ROH faithful. But on Saturday both men step into the ring and fight over one thing that they do hold near and dear: The ROH world championship. Will Strong break Steen’s back and capture ROH gold for a second time, or will ROH remain on lock down and a hostage to Kevin Steen’s reign of terror?
And surely with the answers to all of these questions, new, even more complex topics for speculation will arise out of all the action this weekend. Be sure to keep checking back with us here at ROHWorld.com for all your news as it happens.